How long does it take for CBD oil to work? That’s exactly what we’ll be answering here today.

I assume you’re new to CBD oil?  Maybe only had it a few times? Maybe, you’re yet to give it a try?

Either way, it’s natural to want to know how long it’ll take for the CBD oil to take effect.  And hey, why leave it at that, right? So, I’ll also discuss with you “why” it takes the amount of time it needs, how CBD interacts with the body and many other titbits.

Without beating around the bush, let’s get direct to the point?

How long does it take for CBD oil to work?

There’s no fixed amount of time it’ll take for CBD oil to take effect. Rather, it depends on a number of factors.

Primarily, the “CBD oil time-to-effect” will depend on:

  • Mode of administration
  • Dosage & consistency
  • Your biological composition and features (g. weight, metabolism etc.)
  • Potency of the CBD oil
  • The desired effect

So, the answer to “how long do I have to wait to feel CBD effects?” varies for each individual. However, here’s a table which should get you some idea:

Administration ModeCBD Oil Time To Effect
VapingA few minutes
Ingestion3-6 hours
Sublingual2-5 hours
Topicals6 hour+

Do note that the table may be majorly misunderstood if you do not go through this piece in detail and understand the other involved factors.

Let’s see how long does it take for CBD oil to work then?

Which is the best mode of administration for fastest CBD effects?

The mode of administration influences the bioavailability. Bioavailability is the amount of CBD that’s actually absorbed by your body.

Also, you need to understand that you feel CBD effects when the CBD reaches your bloodstream., So, which administration mode does this the fastest? Let’s see.

  • Vaping

Vaping technically is you directly introducing the CBD to your lungs. This means it gets absorbed in the bloodstream almost instantly. And, this is why vaping is one of the most used CBD administration modes. It starts showing the effects almost instantly.

If you need more authoritative proof, here’s an interview published on Vice. Michelle Peace, a toxicologist says that inhalation is a more efficient way of administering drugs, without compromising on the safety or effect.

CBD oil when inhaled takes only a few minutes to start showing effects. The one downside to this however is that vaping also wears off sooner than the other modes.

  • Ingestion

Vaping isn’t for everyone. Obviously. How about good ol’ fashioned way of using the mouth?

Obviously, you can ingest CBD oil in various forms. There are tablets, gummy bears and many other ways you can literally “eat” CBD oil.

Now, obviously ingesting will require more time for the CBD oil to take effect than vaping. How is it obvious?

Well, the CBD oil would have to go through your digestive tract, reach your liver, then be broken down by the enzymes, and only then show its magic.

Apart from the longer time-requirement, it also reduces the “amount”. Meaning, not 100% of what you ingested is broken down and received by your body.

This is  why, it will take longer for the CBD oil to take effect if it’s ingested than if it’s inhaled. The standard time to effect after ingesting CBD oil can range anywhere between half an hour to a couple hours.

  • Sublingual (“Under the tongue” method)

If you need a neutral ground between ingesting and vaping CBD oil, this is your answer.

Sublingual mode of administration is when you place the CBD oil under your tongue. Now, the tongue has a thin skin layer, called the mucous membrane.

This eliminates the “go to the liver, get broken down step which is involved with ingesting.

This results in  a slower onset time than vaping, but faster than ingesting.  And, unlike ingestion, this mode also results in more of the CBD getting into your body.

The average onset time for sublingually administered CBD oil is about 20 minutes.

  • Topical (creams/lotions)

The fourth common mode of CBD oil administration is by applying it directly on the skin.  For obvious reasons, it’s the slowest of all the other modes.

When topical are used, the amount of hair on your skin, the amount of fats under your skin and many other factors have to be  considered. In simpler words, it’s slow.

However, I’d urge you to go through the “desired effect” section on this guide. That’ll help you understand this mode of administration and its effect-time better.

 How much CBD oil dosage makes it work the fastest?

After the mode of administration, the dosage plays a large role in dictating the time required for CBD oil to work. The dosage also influences how long the CBD stays in your body.

As should be clear, there’s no govt. approved “dosage” for CBD. This is why we’re firm advocates of “start slow, and up the dosage slowly” as also mentioned in our massive CBD oil guide.

Also, CBD dosage misrepresentation is one of the biggest concerns in the industry. This report  clearly shows how the amount of CBD present in products is falsified.

This is why you need to know how to choose CBD oils you can trust.

In a nutshell, as a rule of thumb, the more CBD oil you take, the faster and longer the results  will be for.  However, this isn’t absolute and depends on a dozen other factors.

How do your biological and physical features effect CBD oil time to effect?

You need more food if you’re a person with more weight. Don’t you? The same can be said to be true for CBD oil as well.

This is why we advocated starting slow, and increasing your dosage with time. Your body, every individual’s body, will react differently to the same amount of CBD oil.

Do note that this isn’t absolute either. Meaning, two individuals with the exact same body weight, and exact same CBD oil dosage, may need different amounts of time for CBD oil to take effect.

In an interview to Livescience, Sara Ward, who is a pharmacologist at Temple University in Philadelphia said if two people eat CBD oil brownies, the amounts of CBD each person absorbs  “differs greatly”.

Metabolism is another factor which influences the time required for CBD oil to take effect. In simpler words, metabolism is “how long does it take your body to break down CBD oil into its core components”? Obviously, a slower metabolism will need more time, right?

However, do note that the general conception of “fat people having slower metabolism” is wrong. Hence, just because you may be fat, doesn’t mean you’ll need more time for the CBD oil to take effect.

Does potency of the CBD oil dictate the time required for it to take effect?

It does, but in a roundabout way. Meaning, it’s obvious that a CBD oil product with high potency will take effect sooner.

However, the larger effect here is that the potency decides how long CBD oil stays in your body! Or, more specifically, how long you feel CBD oil effects.

Talking (very) broad, CBD oil effects last about 5-6 hours. But then, as you’ve already understood, many factors weigh in on this timeline.

How does the desired effect dictate the onset of effects for CBD oil?

We mentioned earlier that the “desired effect” also matters, didn’t we? How so? Well, it’s quite simple.

Imagine you’re using a CBD oil cream and applying it on your skin. If you’re using CBD oil for pain, and are applying it directly to the affected area, the effects will only require a few minutes, right?

But, if you’re applying a lotion, and wish to be relived from “stress”, that’s a completely different story. It potentially can and does work. However, the effect will nowhere near be as effective as vaping or ingesting CBD oil, would it?

Similarly, you can’t vape CBD oil and expect it to help with muscle pain instantly.  Hence, what you expect from the CBD oil, and which mode of administration is being used are of prime importance.

How does CBD oil work?

We’ve gone through the primary factors which decide how long does it take for CBD oil to work.

But, I believe if you have a basic idea of how CBD works, you probably can map out CBD oil better.

So, our body has something called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS controls quite a few things, including our mood, pain, anxiety etc.

Now, our body also produces Cannabinoids on its own, these are called “Endocannabinoids”. These actually give the ECS signals which result in us feeling (or, not feeling) quite a few things.

Now, CBD oil doesn’t do much on its own. Rather, it just tells the ECS to use (or, ignore) certain Endocannabinoids.

E.g. CBD may restrict the absorption of anandamide by our body. Anandamide regulates pain. More anandamide in the body= less pain. Simple, isn’t it?

That’s the simplest explanation I could’ve given you for how CBD works. Obviously, it’s very broad and to a large extent vague. But, let’s not get into the more technical, boring, and complicated details, eh?


As explained above, there’s no doctor on the planet who can give you an exact answer to that. It’s like asking “how long does it take for fever to subside”.

There’s an average answer, sure, but nothing  concrete. The average answer too depends on multiple factors, primarily the mode of administration.

The best way to find “your” answer is to try the different administration modes, at different dosages, at different times of the day. You’ll eventually find the sweet-spot for effect-activation you’re looking for.

All in all, it may take anywhere between a few minutes, to a few hours for CBD oil to take effect.